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The new editing experience: we're listening Edited

Avinoam Atlassian Team Mar 28, 2019

Hi team,

It’s no secret that over the past few months as we’ve been gradually rolling out the new editing experience that there’s been a lot of feedback around the lack of flexibility and control when it comes to the layout of your content -- specifically around fixed width and columns.

We’ve been actively listening to all the great feedback while looking into this in depth and are now ready to share, openly and early in the spirit of Open company no bulls**t, an important update on our plans moving forward.

In the upcoming weeks we’ll be gradually adding the following capabilities to the new editing experience:

 

Full width mode

By default, pages will still start with a fixed width, but if you require more real estate to lay your page out differently, you’ll be able to go into “full width mode” which will allow you to use the full width of the page.

 

Additional column types

Today you can use 2 and 3 symmetrical columns. We're going to add in two more column options; both two columns, with the option of a left or right sidebar.

 

Making columns easier to find and more familiar

We also plan on moving Columns to the main toolbar so you can find them more easily, and are changing their name back to “Layouts” for familiarity.

 

Thank you again for all of the feedback — please, keep it coming! We’re doing our very best to listen, as we care deeply about this experience. We’d love to get your feedback and early thoughts on these upcoming changes.

Regards,

Avinoam

62 comments

I absolutely need full width for my technical content. Glad to have it on the road to return.

Like # people like this

Agreed, but it should be an option for administrators, to configure sitewide "full width by default".

Wasting 60% of screen real estate by default, for "reasons", is a really bad decision.

Like # people like this

@Avinoam Thank you for listening to your customers and giving full width back.

I'd like to add another vote to this request - please empower administrators (especially in organisations where people are rarely if ever going to use Confluence on mobile) to make FW the default.

Like # people like this

I agree! I can't actually understand the point of full width not being the default. We use tables all the time and the full page width is essential for decent legibility

Like # people like this

Awaiting this new experience!

This is great news, @Avinoam! Looking forward to this.

Like Chris Jarvis likes this

Thanks for listening to us @Avinoam :-).

One question though, what would be the default when converting content created with the old editor? I am, of course, again referring to my 30+ customers, each having 500+ pages of content, that would look bad after conversion.

Will old content automatically converted to full width, or is this at least an option?

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Mar 29, 2019

@Maurice Pasman that's a fair, and great question. We have yet to finalize an approach on this to be fully transparent but are heavily leaning in the direction of over correcting and having pages migrate into full width to alleviate the amount of change associated with having a page transition from one editor to another. Would love to get your thoughts on how you'd expect this to work on your end for the smoothest experience?

Like # people like this

@Avinoam I have a few thoughts on this, but maybe the other followers could also chime in:

  • Converting existing content to full width by default seems perfect
  • I would prefer new pages to do this too (to avoid new pages to look differently), maybe this could be a space/template setting
  • There should be a possibility to convert all content at once (to avoid some pages to look differently at display time). Maybe this could be triggered by the space admin on the space settings
  • Existing templates should also be converted to full width

Of course, this all cannot be forced upon users until the most blocking bugs (related to macros and the formatting of tables) are fixed :-).

Like # people like this

Thank you. Is there a specific due date for these updates? :)

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Mar 29, 2019

@Peter Davis and @Cameron LaBorde-Zank in keeping with full transparency there isn't a specific due date just yet. We wanted to share the decision early here vs. wait till we have all the answers, since this is such an important topic :)

We're actively working on the scheduling for these and I can assure that there will be ample communication on timing as we have it!

Like # people like this

These are great moves by Atlassian!

I have to say I truly wish Atlassian would consider giving vendors access to an EAP server so we don't continue to get blindsided and can both help customers and help Atlassian test.  

OR (I've been told this is unlikely) something else with the same goal.  Any ideas?

Thanks!

Brendan

Like Matt Orr likes this

I think your act irresponsibly. It is a good idea to enhance the editor, but you switch to new editor without a possibility of decision. now we have a mixin of differrent pages and layouts. old pages use old editor. new pages ever use new editor. the new one has much less features. the layout around the content look totally broken. and you don't provide an upgrade path for existing pages.

that's so unprofessional...

Like # people like this

It should be an option for administrators, to configure sitewide "full width by default".

Wasting 60% of screen real estate by default, for "reasons", is a really bad decision.

You broke images again.

Like # people like this

Happy you came to this conclusion, changes to enable full width and support the old column types are desperately needed.  The sooner you guys can roll these out, the better.  I'm avoiding touching any existing content until you do because I don't want to destroy the layout.  

Like # people like this

I have been digging through confluence settings for over an hour trying to figure how to get back to the old editor :(

It is frustrating because in company X, confluence is full width, but in company Y, it is centered and I was trying to figure out which setting was different.  Centering is NOT ideal for things like project plans and product requirements that require a lot of content, road maps, etc.

Is it possible for create a template based page (product / project) using the old editor right now?

Like # people like this

What is centering good for, really?

Confluence is not a CMS or a blog. It is a collaboration tool. The decision to waste 60% of the screen real estate by default is ... stupid, really.

Like # people like this

Best news I have had in a long time, finally Atlassian are listening and we can get full width and our old columns back.

 

Thanks for finally listening.

 

 

Art

Like # people like this

Please give users a choice with such comprehensive feature updates. The current procedure causes additional work for me and is absolutely unsatisfactory. There are no migration possibilities and from my point of view there are only disadvantages with the new editor.

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 15, 2019

@Christoph Chilian really sorry to hear you feel that way! I'd love to talk and learn more about your frustrations. You can book time with me directly here https://calendly.com/azelenko.

 

Thanks,

Avinoam

TBH its already hard enough to get some tech folk to document. If Atlassian continues these ham handed updates, I will consider moving my company to different software.

I've been a HUGE fan of Atlassian for years too.

A company I’m working for is just using on-premise Confluence instances to manage tech documentation. Folks could not handle the antiproductive new editor.

I just signed up to a new Confluence trial and I only see the old editor?

Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 15, 2019

@Ben King I'll follow up with you via email to help you out.

I arrived here after searching how to get my first page created with the new editor to be full width. I finally ran across this post, which indicates that's a future enhancement, so in the meantime, I deleted the page and will start over.

Full width as a default is definitely our requirement, too. Not to beat a dead horse, but the motivation of having content render well across devices is laudable, but should not result in content looking awful on larger viewports. Our users are going to be using a desktop browser most of the time; reading content on a phone is somewhat of an edge case in our company.

So it's good to hear that you are putting full width back in, and I second that it should be the default mode, rather than starting with fixed width as you plan. If I interpret your plans correctly, all of our users will be forced to take an additional step when creating content, which seems like it penalizes users that prefer full width. Which leads me to a more general point...

You also should have these settings be something an admin can configure and enforce for an account. One of my gripes with Atlassian Cloud is that large changes, such as the new notification scheme in JIRA (which has been a significant source of annoyance for our users!), get rolled out, yet there is no way for an administrator to configure these settings for their users. I understand the challenges of customization in a multi-tenant environment, but Atlassian ought to be devoting R&D resources to administration capabilities, not just features. </rant>

Thanks again for the updates.

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 15, 2019

Thanks for the detailed feedback @David King ! As mentioned in this post we are listening and I've shared this internally so we can continue the ongoing discussions around such feedback. Please keep it coming.

Thanks for the response and openness to feedback. I understand the difficulty of developing features for such a diverse user base. Good luck...I'm looking forward to the next version.

Like # people like this

Agreed: It should be an option for administrators, to configure sitewide "full width by default".

Wasting 60% of screen real estate by default, for "reasons", is a really bad decision.

In full width I expect to see more columns..not the same 2 columns wth more space in them.. this new features make the product unuseable for me and my customers.. 

Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 16, 2019

@Henry Snijders confirming that regardless of full width we'll be adding right, left and two side bars layouts back to layouts.

Like Avinoam likes this

Please include the Meeting Notes template in the list of pages to acquire full-width default mode.  Absolutely critical to have wide, left-justified in that template.  Thanks, Bob.

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 16, 2019

Just following up and updating that "columns" are now directly in the main toolbar of the editor:

 

2019-04-16_1631.png

 

More to come!

I don't understand how a new editor interface is released without an option to choose the legacy editor instead. Clearly the new editor has many issues that could have been identified by a beta group prior to release. I can't find the option to select the legacy editor anywhere. How do I find the legacy editor? Thanks

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team May 06, 2019

@jimm let me reach out to you directly and see if I can help out.

Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 16, 2019

Another quick update - the "/" command is now more informative and visual also highlighting keyboard shortcuts:

2019-04-16_1634.png

Like Casey Graves likes this

Cool.

Quick update:

1. Scrolling this list totally pegs single core CPU usage and it feels super laggy, most likely because of issue 2. However, this seems to be a reoccurring issue across all of the new editor when it comes to displaying "large" (not actually that large) sets of data in the editor.

2. This list is for some reason pulling in JIRA Wallboard gadgets? All of those items insert an activity monitor widget.

Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 16, 2019

@Cameron LaBorde-Zank thanks for that update! 

1. I've passed this on to the team to have a close look at.

2. This is a known top priority issue which we're actively working on to resolve shortly.

@Avinoam great, i went ahead and opened support tickets for them. 

My bigger question is this was two seconds in this feature being released, why does this keep happening with every release?

Like Stefano likes this

Any update on when the “full width mode”  and additional column types will be available?  The last few weeks have been a struggle.  

Like # people like this
Roy Tseng I'm New Here Apr 24, 2019

+1

Been a long time confluence user and recently signed up for cloud only to find out that I'm forced into using a fixed width. I use all kinds of tables and images embedded into my pages so full width is a must. I've wasted hours in the last few days just trying to deal with fitting my content into the new constraint. So unproductive.

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 24, 2019

Fair question @Mark Wilson! I'll repost my comment from https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65654 to here:

I can't share an exact date yet, but can say that we're actively working on it as a top priority. Once we come closer in the coming weeks to a date that we can communicate externally I'll be sure to update this ticket, others and community as well.

Like Arnaud Cuzzolin likes this

so... where is the no bulls**t??!

This is just same usual Atlassian.

 

Listen to your customers... outstanding tickets never cared for...

and now a cute blog mode for a professional wiki used by techies. We don't want the fixed width.

Tables are utterly unusable. Give back full width!!

 

Not the first rant on around here. Paying customer. Often unhappy. 

Only thing preventing us to move away is the huge effort to transfer the content..

Like # people like this

Exactly. Huge effort to transfer. Not a good or clever way to keep customers, I guess.

It should be an option for administrators, to configure sitewide "full width by default".

Wasting 60% of screen real estate by default, for "reasons", is a really bad decision.

And, "cute" is spot on. We do not need cute. We need for our productivity to remain. Default to centered or whatever it is called, is a seriously ill advised idea.

Like Huw Griffiths likes this

My apology if mine is off topic. I have one request/comment.

  1. To keep consistent editor for Global Template Editor and New Page Editor during this transaction period.

In our cloud instance, global template editor is using old page editor and new page(without template) is using a new page editor. 

The new and old experiences have considerable differences both in terms of functionalities and user experience. 

E.g. Status macro, Info panel macro, full-width mode, etc.

It is very painful to swing between old and new UI.

Thanks.

Like # people like this
Avinoam Atlassian Team Apr 25, 2019

Thanks for raising this @Ye Thura Thet ! I'll reach out to you via email shortly to help out!

I have a similar issue. We have intranet using Confluence Server 6.x with old editor and cloud migration public sites with new editor. We cannot be retraining everyone for two different editors and especially for content that has to be migrated from intra to external 

PLEASE keep the old editor for those of us who have thousands of pages of original Confluence content.

Like # people like this

@Avinoam I'm interested in turning on the new editor for one of our sites, is that something I can/should request through support? thank you!

Avinoam Atlassian Team May 01, 2019

@Sharon Helms , yes that would be best in general, but I'm happy to help you out directly :)

I'll follow up in an email shortly!

Like Sharon Helms likes this

When are these fixes? Almost every day I use confluence I open at least one new support ticket. And its not getting in to the weeds, it's just doing normal things for a whole 20 minutes. Its been 42 days since this post went up, that's roughly 3 sprints, I think if you want to be transparent we need dates. If you cant provide dates we need to understand the scope of the teams working on this, we need some context to have any sense of confidence in using these tools. I suspect we will pass the year mark before we reach even close to full parity with the old editor and that seems like a bit much. And NO I do not want to have private conversations, I want this company to treat all of its users equally and provide real answers in public. 

Like # people like this

"Open company, no bullsh*t"

Avinoam Atlassian Team May 09, 2019

Hey @Cameron LaBorde-Zank , thanks for the honest feedback. To provide some more context around this post - we shared this post on purpose at the point we made a decision, which indeed is very early, for the sake of transparency vs. waiting till we have it ready and waiting several more weeks to even communicate that we're looking at this which in turn could have felt like we're not even taking in the feedback. The potential downside of sharing early, as you pointed out, is it can feel like we're not working on it. I can assure you that the opposite is true as it's the first priority of features to introduce. To be more transparent we're in phases of testing it internally and working out all the edge cases, however, I still can't provide an exact timeline. What I'll be sure to do is, once we have more confidence in a timeline, to communicate when this will be landing. 

Like Annika Hubert likes this

@Avinoam Thanks for the reply. However, this doesn't actually address the problem which is that this is a live product and we're all stuck in the middle of a very messy beta that is being sold as a "release." There still isn't a way forward presented to anyone, there isn't a best practice because everyone is stuck in a variety of different states. I have people asking me why all of our pages look totally different, why half of our blueprints either dont work, or some of them are stuck on the old editor and some on the new one. Half the pages made need to be manually converted and all of the links re-made. There is a lot of people who are stuck, paying customers, who are asking you what to do and how to do it and for 7 months (for us some much longer) the answer has either been ignoring it or a vague promise of "some time later." Well that's all good and well but we're paying for a service that is broken and not having a timeline after months and months of work is frustrating to say the least.

I know none of this helps you get your job done any faster or easier, but we're struggling and frustrated. Pulling off these cavalier deployments and releases and then basically saying "trust us it will get fixed" but still putting all the work on your customers shoulders is insulting. 

Like # people like this

we are all in this boat. Extremely frustrating...

Like Maurice Pasman likes this

Please provide an estimate of the time to add a button on page edit and site preferences to select an option for the old or new editor format for the page or site. We need to know that now to continue using Confluence. For us, Confluence is broken in production. This is not a feature request.

Like # people like this

Well, for my part the old editor was working just fine, and I was paying for it. I personally don‘t see any meaning in paying for the new editor, full of wrong UX choices as I see it. I am deeply annoyed that this “editor” becomes the only available editor in Confluence, because it’s not at all the product I chose when I subscribed.

Like # people like this

Frankly, this is an issue with "cloud" in general. You are at the mercy of the latest feature set like it or not. in my case, I was just starting to move in to the cloud and now my trust with Atlassian in managing this any better than Google is gone. I will be retreating back to my shell of premises installed version of which I can control upgrades and rollbacks. 

@Avinoam My suggestion is to think hard and fast in the future about such breaking changes. I can assure you that people at some point will feel enough pain to walk away from the product and your competitors are catching up. Good luck!

Like # people like this

Where can we track the progress of this task? Desperately need to be able to use full width. 

Hi @Avinoam .  Please provide an update on when we will be able to use the old editor as an option when we create a new page.  We've been forced to use other wikis for content updates until this is resolved. I'll assume this can be done within a week? thanks

Like # people like this

Hi @Avinoam 

The notes you list here are just notes.

Confluence has a product team behind the product.

That also means there is a clear product roadmap.

The company that makes JIRA could not avoid having a Confluence product roadmap.

That roadmap has epics, stories and more.

As an open company why not make that roadmap public like other open companies ( Hyperledger etc )???

The random notes provide little value on the long-term product roadmap and direction.

As customers of Confluence Cloud, we are all highly dependent on decisions your product team makes.

The closed door approach to sharing the product roadmap needs to end.

I suspect there are a variety of clear business reasons Confluence has behind the Web and Mobile versions but none of those are shared.

Statements like you'll love our editing experience is marketing, not honest communications.

A good product team would keep the old features as configuration options while rolling out new features.

Look forward to seeing the JIRA epics for Confluence ...

Like Nicole McCleaf likes this

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